Natalie is Labour’s latest recruit. After years of pounding the streets, putting leaflets through doors, organising jumble sales and attending what often seemed interminable meetings, Natalie has made it big — welcomed by Sir Keir Starmer himself. 

But, of course, in as much as Natalie has done any of those things, it was not for the Labour Party, it was not for even a diluted form of social justice, it was to promote the Conservative Party.

Ms Elphicke has been described as a ‘good fit’ for Labour by Annelise Dodds, Shadow Minister for Something. But, apart from her desire to distance herself from the Tories, who she has suddenly noticed are ‘incompetent’, what makes her a ‘good fit’? Her private education would, no doubt, impress the shadow front bench who are nothing if not committed to the idea of social improvement. Nothing improves a person more than going to an exclusive school and mixing with society’s elite.

Natalie Elphicke is so committed to Labour values of social justice that she has consistently voted for restricting the right to legal aid, has voted for mass surveillance of your communications, has voted for tougher immigration rules, and for making it harder to gain asylum. She is pro-woman, and to prove it has voted against liberalising abortion laws and, as somebody who cares about the well-being of elderly citizens, has opposed all attempts to reduce the amount people have to pay towards their social care. She likes power though and opposes all attempts to increase local and devolved democracy. These are positions that make her a ‘good fit’ for Labour. After years of campaigning against Labour, she is greeted with open arms, whilst committed Labour MPs with voting records to match, including Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, and Claudia Webbe, are denied the whip and treated as pariahs.

Ms Elphicke had to battle for the seat she currently holds. Battle in as much as she was given it as a reward for her loyalty to former MP, Charlie Elphicke, who was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual assault in July 2020. Natalie believes justice includes defending a sex predator who admitted he lied in court, stating that the sentence was ‘excessive’ and that the court had been ‘on a bit of a mission’. Of course it had — to bang-up a sex offender — which was, after all, its job. Natalie saw things differently, excusing his sexual assault as ‘behaving badly’ and claiming that he was a target of women because of his good looks. If these antediluvian views are a ‘good fit’ for Labour, then perhaps it tells us everything we need to know about Labour.

Devoid of anything other than naked ambition to attract young politicians, Tony Blair was keen on recruiting Tories. Alan Howarth, the first in 1995, followed by Peter Temple-Morris and Shaun Woodward in 1997. Considered to be something of a coup, what these defections show is that the two main parties are interchangeable. Following Blair’s landslide anti-Tory victory in 1997, the number of Labour voters declined, but so did turnout — what point voting when the choices were Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum? We appear to have reached that point in Starmer’s Labour much more quickly because, whilst there was genuine enthusiasm for Blair’s New Labour project, there really is none for Project Starmer. Their forthcoming victory is likely to be won on a narrow turnout, and even less excitement, as Tory-infused Labour replace insipid, but nasty and corrupt, Tory Party in Number Ten.

Politics has to be about principles if it is to be about anything; but principles are being abandoned by just about every party in favour of an electoral calculus in which positions are taken, not because they are right, but because they appear to have the support of a specific constituency. And, for those thinking this is only a dig at Labour, look more closely at some parties closer to home.

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